Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Yes the iPad is Relevant

Gizmodo tackles the question, “Is the iPad still relevant?” The response is a resounding yes, using examples such as:


Few devices make better digital doodling pads than the iPad paired with an Apple Pencil, and you’ve got a host of apps to help the creative juices flow, from Procreate to Paper to SketchBook. We know that “full” Photoshop is heading to the iPad from 2019, which is huge—will Illustrator follow?



Read more here...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Microsoft is getting into the lumber business

To help offset carbon, Microsoft plans to plant hundreds of acres of native trees in Ireland over the next few years -- the largest corporate investment in Irish forestry in a decade. The plan by Microsoft will focus on native trees, such as Pedunculate Oak, Downy Birch, Common Alder, and Scots Pine. This will help to offset Irish greenhouse gas emissions.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Real-World Decentralized Web Apps

There is a push by many -- including the inventor of the World Wide Web -- to make a decentralized internet more possible. There are a number of apps available that leverage this model, and this article discusses a word processing app...

The distributed web is being promoted by people I admire, including web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle and Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker. It also has a valid reason to exist: people really should own and control their own data, not just labour as unpaid serfs for surveillance capitalism. However, most people follow the line of least resistance, so the web is not going to change overnight.
Services like Graphite are worth considering if you need both encryption and the ability to share secure files online, though there are other ways to do this, such as Boxcryptor and Whisply. DWeb apps will need to become easier to use and mobile before they can reach a mass market.

Read more here...

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Best New Open Source Tools

Website mag InfoWorld revealed their annual list of "the leading open source projects for software development, cloud computing, big data, and machine learning." Read more at their site.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Flexibility is key in the "gig" economy

Employees want more flexibility --

PwC, one of the so-called Big Four accountancy giants, said that it decided to embrace the gig economy after a study it carried out showed that almost 46% of 2,000 respondents prioritised flexible working hours and a good work-life balance the most when choosing a job.

Read more at the BBC

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Over at Slashdot, we read:

A forum thread on QRZ.com indicates that the shortwave time broadcasts by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from stations WWV (Colorado) and WWVH (Hawaii) may be slashed in budget year 2019. [One of the proposed reductions includes "$6.3 million supporting fundamental measurement dissemination, including the shutdown of NIST radio stations in Colorado and Hawaii."]

While the WWV broadcasts may seem like an anachronism to some Slashdotters, they remain a crucial component in many unexpected services, from over-the-air broadcasters and traffic signals, to medical devices, wall clocks, and wrist watches. The signals serve as standard beacons for radio propagation, and as a frequency reference for alignment of a broad range of communications equipment. It's easy to imagine that not even the NIST knows every service and device that could be impacted by this decision.

Friday, August 10, 2018

At ZDNet, we read:

Security researchers are warning Linux system users of a bug in the Linux kernel version 4.9 and up that could be used to hit systems with a denial-of-service attack on networking kit. The warning comes from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT/CC, which notes that newer versions of the Linux kernel can be "forced to make very expensive calls to tcp_collapse_ofo_queue() and tcp_prune_ofo_queue() for every incoming packet which can lead to a denial of service (DoS)".

It lists a number of network-equipment vendors, PC and server manufacturers, mobile vendors, and operating-system makers that may be affected but notes that it hasn't confirmed whether any of them actually are. But, given the widespread use of Linux, the bug could affect every vendor from Amazon and Apple through to Ubuntu and ZyXEL. A remote attacker could cause a DoS by sending specially modified packets within ongoing TCP sessions. But sustaining the DoS condition would mean an attacker needs to have continuous two-way TCP sessions to a reachable and open port.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

From Gizmodo:

An investigation carried out by Federal Communication Commission's own inspector general officially refutes controversial claims that a cyberattack was responsible for disrupting the FCC's comment system in May 2017, at the height of the agency's efforts to kill off net neutrality. The investigation also uncovered that FCC officials had provided congressional lawmakers with misleading information regarding conversations between an FCC employee and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cybercrime task force. A report from the inspector general's office (OIG) released Tuesday afternoon states that the comment system's downtime was likely caused by a combination of "system design issues" and a massive surge in traffic caused when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver directed millions of TV viewers to flood the FCC's website with pro-net neutrality comments.

Investigators were unable to "substantiate the allegations of multiple DDoS attacks" alleged by then-FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray, the report says. "At best, the published reports were the result of a rush to judgment and the failure to conduct analyses needed to identify the true cause of the disruption to system availability." [Here's an excerpt from the report:] "While we identified a small amount of anomalous activity and could not entirely rule out the possibility of individual DoS attempts during the period from May 7 through May 9, 2017, we do not believe this activity resulted in any measurable degradation of system availability given the minuscule scale of the anomalous activity relative to the contemporaneous voluminous viral traffic."

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

From Slashdot: Oracle has filed a protest regarding plans to award the Pentagon's huge cloud contract to a single vendor. Rebecca Hill writes:

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, which has a massive scope, covering different levels of secrecy and classification across all branches of the military, will run for a maximum of 10 years and is worth a potential $10 billion. In spite of this pressure from vendors and the tech lobby -- as well as concerns from Congress -- the US Department of Defense (DoD) refused to budge, and launched a request for proposals (RFP) at the end of last month. Oracle is less than impressed with the Pentagon's failure to back down, and this week filed a bid protest to congressional watchdog the Government Accountability Office asking for the RFP to be amended.

In the protest, the database goliath sets out its arguments against a single vendor award -- broadly that it could damage innovation, competition, and security. Reading between the lines, it doesn't want either of Amazon or Microsoft or Google to get the whole pie to itself, and thus endanger Oracle's cosiness with Uncle Sam. Summing up its position in a statement to The Register, Oracle said that JEDI "virtually assures DoD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more" at a time when cloud technology is changing at an unprecedented pace.
Read more at The Register

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Is Programming Getting Harder?

Is programming becoming more difficult? Allen Downey (Professor of Computer Science at Olin College, author of Think Python, Think Stats, Think Bayes, Think Complexity and more) writes,

"The fundamental problem is that the barrier between using a computer and programming a computer is getting higher. When I got a Commodore 64 (in 1982, I think) this barrier was non-existent. When you turned on the computer, it loaded and ran a software development environment (SDE). In order to do anything, you had to type at least one line of code, even if all it did was another program (like Archon). Since then, three changes have made it incrementally harder for users to become programmers... Cloud computing has taken information hiding to a whole new level. People using web applications often have only a vague idea of where their data is stored and what applications they can use to access it. Many users, especially on mobile devices, don't distinguish between operating systems, applications, web browsers, and web applications. When they upload and download data, they are often confused about where is it coming from and where it is going. When they install something, they are often confused about what is being installed where. For someone who grew up with a Commodore 64, learning to program was hard enough. For someone growing up with a cloud-connected mobile device, it is much harder...."

Read more...

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bicycles will continue to be popular

Slowly but surely, more U.S. communities are realizing that the future of mobility is bigger than cars. Biking is seen as an attractive, cost effective, healthy and convenient way to get around. Bike commuting tripled in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Portland and Denver from 1990 to 2012, and doubled in many other cities.

Read more...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

New Film - The Burren

"An uplifting and emotional celebration of people and place, which captures the delicacy of the natural world; the heart and soul of a farmer-poet, Patrick McCormack; and the ancient rural spirit of Ireland which stands behind him. The Story is centered around Patrick and the land, The Burren, Western Ireland. A wild place where Mesolithic tombs, famine villages and present day small rocky fields are like jewels telling of our long human story on these hills. Patrick longs to farm in the quite pace his ascendants did. But his life gains a different momentum when he’s called to Battle in the Supreme courts to decide on the fate of this iconic wilderness."
https://vimeo.com/221612391

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Demand for Solar Panels Expected to Drop as Import Duties are Levied

New tarrifs on solar panels are among the duties imposed by the current U.S. administration.


As someone noted,

The American manufacturers aren't going to come in and sell them at the lower price. All that's being done is lower the demand after raising the prices. This is going to put a lot more people who were installing the panels out of work than the number of people who ever going to be employed making them. There are 10,000s people in the US working to install panels and that work can't be outsourced to any other country. Who cares where the panels come from? The cheaper they are, the more projects (residential and industrial) will become viable and started meaning more people employed.